Hope 2019 has been a great start for you.  Most grateful for your warm welcome.

Since returning, it has been busy, busy, busy for us.

Overall, we had a very lovely and memorable time in Puglia, Sicily and Rome. Appreciate all your suggestions and excellently planned itinerary, which made our trip more enjoyable.  Also blessed with sunny skies, most of the time. Generally, Sicilians are wonderful people, so proud of their diverse heritage (quite bizarre), and food was robust, fresh and authentic.

The guides engaged and driver were very knowledgeable and insightful. And passionate to add. We would have preferred more ‘alone time’ to check out some of the places on our own.

Explorations of each area with the guides took time, and we were unable to try many of the restaurants you had recommended because of lack of time (apologies for the cancellations – hope restaurants were not offended).  But for those that we tried – fabulous. To note, some eats rejected cash payment (they had concerns with Euro200 and above notes, hmmm..)

Highlights for us – hike in Matera, visit to Mount Etna (in wet/foggy weather), visits to Baroque Churches, and Archeological ruins e.g. Greek amphitheatres, ceramic making, cooking class (so fun making pasta and Arincino), chocolate-making, and puppet-making and puppet show, just to name a few.  We found the Papier-mâché and soap making sessions too superficial.

You are right, Matera is a very beautiful city.  Deserving to be voted 2019 European City for Culture.

For this yearend, again would appreciate your views on which country to visit – Austria or Spain?